- Folio, Poetry, Reading, Writing

From the Archives: Three Poems, by Edwin Torres

Happy birthday, Edwin Torres! Celebrate by reading the three Torres poems we published this year in Puerto Rican Writers Folio: A Hauntology! Then, read the Torres poems we published in 2019 and 2020 (some of the latter of which were subsequently published in Quanundrum [I Will be Your Many Angled Thing])!


I’m Almost Done with the Enveloping Vamoose

to order a coffee —
as the world waits for your name
to wait for a world by ordering your coffee
there’s a specific suitcase I carry
a particular bodysuit I wear, made of exactly
the same volume every day — in these days
of every sun — some famous creature of myth told me

I know —
where I will take my coffee
where I will satisfy the moneymaker
my ability for sameness, in the gorge of my spit
is necessary right now       — to allow the volcano its speech
my molten ability for greatness
in the sameness          of everyday arousal

is there —
in that specific dare
to deem yourself ready
for stillness              among the world
zooming by — yours is a speed
acknowledged by

I am telling myself about beauty —
as a reminder for direction
beauty is direction — some narcissus pointed
yours (is) yours
(mine) is (mine) — I am carrying your suitcase now
your pile of destiny
in my speed

the beauty you allow —
in the bodysuit I wear
to establish direction — for we, who allow motion
to rest in the hands we both wear
— the unknown restraint
of our wildest now — in the enveloping vamoose
of a grander we


my facial mycelial my mask

My masks are made with treaty’s torn off bodies of interruption
<< pardon >> My body’s interruption << pardon >> My triggerruption
My masks are made of the chosen majority << pardon >>
Democracy Crockpot << pardon >> Banana Re-poopoo
<< pardon my variant >> My masks are made of the best diaspora
Order in the next millennia
and we’ll throw in >> Unsocial Remora << circa two zero
two zerostrike thatone zerotwo threegone
strike that >> << breathe >>

I’m a Yoruba-based ark-eologist, just released for time served, defacing
society’s blindspot << pardon >> my blood << pardon >> my visit
<< pardon my flesh >> My interruption is your day
I’m a life-long missionary for the not filled-in — My masks are made of skin
bronzed from the backwoods of annihilation
sewn on the sails of the washed-away massacre of centurion ships
from galaxies harvested on dreamt of balconies — harboring
imagistic leaders born of singed opportunity << pardon breathepardon
breathe breathe >>

My masks are stretchable yet made to suffocate — around your fleshy parts
The parts you believe in — The parts you feel at night << got blood
on your handsgot redgot hotgot stink on your hands >>
Order in the next thirty nucleics and we’ll throw in utopic entrails
hypnotized by your past, christened by fires ravaged on the shores
of cloven change — I’m a Tesseract for Insta-Gag
just re-voided by the white
order before the next Anthropocene and we’ll throw in cataclysmic patterns
climbed over weather-whirls’ tornado’ed imperfections

We’ll throw in — breathe breathe
strike that — don’t — << pardon my don’t >>
My derelicted class structures — now listed now
listed now
you’re just listing
now you’re just listing stories
now you’re just listing
for something to hear, something to say
now you’re torrential gust, now you’re the ones you run from
— your ravaged fires, your people
— now your mission
— makes an entrance
— now you have something to get at, now
— something comes to you
— now the poem — now the poem
— starts

after listing excuse of syntax for morality —
at the beginning of the side-by-side tectonic —
— after beastiliant myth
— before selfie display << your wrecked incarceration
of the bodyof the fearsome apology you always wanted >>
strike that — I — always wanted
for you — to be in it
now you’re in it
for synapse to moor sequential carnivery — pier trans pierance
now you cannibalize the language for entry
— what happens to the giver once the comfort of the giving is gone
— what happens to the wrenched-apart apathy once now is gone
— what happens to the drive — for these words
from out of the mighty almighty alluded
the summoned totems, the shoulders I stand on
the hands holding me steady
the appearance — of my shakable foundation
— in this mask —

Order now and your listening will root
foundation, formation, interstitial tendril for summation
the tion words, the shunned,
the steady shunned affirmations of where travel
gives me lead — lodestar, knifed, effervescentual logarithm
These masks I make are 100 percent star fields
constructed of interruption — 100 percent interruption
my star field intelligents my doing, with interruption — every day

• •
I am interrupted from morality every damn day
in the field of — my ancestors, my listening — now
you’re listening, now
you’re ancestors, now
you’re my ancestors
palms out, palms burned, bruised, over landing what we walk on
everyday our blindspots — shined brighter
our fingers, brighter — our glass, dulls ancestry — obliterates
the handheld galaxies, we offer our lives to
in patterns of synchronous ink-ology

• •

My masks are made of one hundred percent synchronicity — look look
in the next sixty lines, I’m listening, I’m listening
— answer me, I’m listening — I’ listing
I’m a list of asynchronous mistakes
astinctual, extapetapent — sound out the chorus of your misspelling
oxtamporous, inpollavent — sound out your mistaken
mold-inducing purification, mastered
over a cycle’s interference
fostered interference << adopted traumas are my location >>

These masks are made of location — my location — my era
located — by carbon flirt-ation-injustice-and-mayhem
my filtered upbringing, re-rooted
by something you can wear around your head
— something that wears you back, that feels you back
around your parts << the viva you lose, the lala you get >>
A body locates interruption, to feel its recording —
check out — my feel recording, with this mask — echo that spirit
your spill recording — with one hundred percent orality, Order Now
Order Now, time is running
there are two minutes left to this poem

• •
My masks are new life, for the unencumbered
<< de-cumber your expectancy, order a thousand, one hundred, at a time >>
I’m not only a customer,
I am Yoruba-based Latinxtancy, hawking my vibe
by the side of a road — newly released
from itinerant robes, ethnic obliteration is my karma today —
My masks are made from books I’ll never be
poems I haven’t written — sewn with inherited threads
perceptual affirmations for paralyses I’ve never breathed —

diseases I’ve never had, people I’ve never killed
by breathing on them << pardon me, have I never breathed >>
look look — off-topic — listen listen mine
are the ones to get mines
are the ones to order
made from the poet gaze — a Rorschach for inclusivity << see me
through it, see you >> code-switch, easily canonized
— Did I say how they fit around the tongue
how they strap across
faith and lesion — how hypocrisy is a weighted fissure
looking for purity, here << insert a sin
you believe in >> here, at the tip, of the earholes — here, listen listen

— Sapped of nowhere, the listen is godless —
<< insert a victim you follow >> here
I am letting you go,
order now, before we’re both —
— I’ve just seen, ahead
of what’s
holding me
back, you
before you’re gone,
holding me back,

• •
— what I share, with my mask
is what I’m looking for —
the troubled eclipse of my fortitude, unraveling
here, in my mask —
does that perplexity for a cosmic ever-field
count as wisdom or sanity
<< look look, those that would be quick
to call me done
are embattled by insight, MY insight >> can now
be rendered, be ordered, be yours

in the next eleven lines — I am a Yoruba-based Paleo-spirit
I graduated from blooded apparitions
in the next nine lines —
My masks are made of differences, indifferent to perception
My heart interrupts, the body’s insistent approval
Time running — you, phantasm — here —
bloomed by desperation
our layered ambivalence, systemic — in the seams
of our masks, row upon row

where I don’t know — what I’m finding, but
what I’m looking for


you know there is a way of not understanding

on a private screen, under cover of storm — he watches
the buzzed entrance, from ear to alignment — his people
the redefined balance — the people — from brain to skeleton
marrow to mangle, bone boss to lumbar union strike — self whispering
beautiful, in the blood-letting — what was the Prima Matera, where father figure
dissolves (to create world) — (as) The Antiquated Feel Provider
The Foci Imprisoner — codes (and) into —
Half Human / Half Understanding
The Bi-Unit Integral / The Valved Upsolver
The Filament Engorger — the mounting gorge

— too stuffed-up by a world I don’t know, one that
knows me too well — too hot and bothered by not-knowing —
this giant land
has empathy for not-knowing — by forcing blood
into script, you allow DNA its momentary dazzle
through fingertip — that lost knuckle, bent, by the point it makes —
Half Shadow / Half Daze — catch the page in the sun
Page Sun / Passion — pronounce inverted tracheas
as fellow storms that realize poems for you — when you have
no realization left

in this cortex — I am both writer and writee — subject and object
but we all know — where this is headed — great mistakes
make greater leaders — and I’m only trying
to write through — what I think — are mine
such a stagger of density — to write — through what — you think

The Golden Orifice / The Brass Virtual — no lonely road knows
no desert — shot flat tooth pale, by red right sandman
no great land — numb — for the Great Buzz — gusted beggar
knocks on my glass — me, as ancient crater, hollowed bone
nasty prick-on-prick wing, outside my cloud — brings me more news
from Not Land — where cloud cover pretends
to glide — to not own
what you watch, when does intuition need direction
— this could be my mother
but it’s only political narrative

you know — there is a way of not understanding
that implies — a layered approach — like
where am I — in my understanding — that makes
what I see — much lower than I
instead of — what’s different than I

no lonely desert knows no great land — shot right
as right sandman — same words, just now, a few stanzas above
same frames, of gusted beggars, knocking on glass
all the time — those thoughts at night
I’m just trying to catch them, before they hurt someone else —
ancient crater cracks bone — nasty wing on wing action, could be
a people about to crack — I am repeating, lately
too many things — so many wings, outside this house
our house — whose cloud, my cloud — brings me yours
as cover pretends — to glide, in a world

I don’t know — one that knows me too well — too hot
and bothered, by not saying you’re weak — you lead this great land
and here, the horizon
takes a backseat, to the vertical — you stare at a screen
subject becomes thingness as a virtue — I’m the one
you look at them — they follow you
when they collapse — you don’t tell them
they don’t need you — they look at you — your people
you don’t react — they see you — it’s live — you force blood
into script — allow DNA your fingertip razz-ma-tazz

The Great American Outcome — realized by gravity
the ones that follow you, fall because of you
what a way to be — a cause — I didn’t tell them
they had to — self whisperer catches the sun, incumbent sun
my unveiled sun, inverted, as storms of wrong
that speak for you — when you have
no wrong left — the buzzed entrance
that’s how we started — from mouth
to gate — this body — its redefined balance
from movement — to skeleton —

to break through a people — by becoming the people —
force grows — both language and I
bone boss, spinal union codes (and)
(oddified) (curlicues) — into, what I have, am
Half Human / Half Understanding
what is it, I am trying to real — by real’ing
over and over, the real I am not
The Bi-Unit Integral / The Valved Upsolver
The Antiquated Feel Provider / The Insurgent Repetizer
I am trying — again

— The Golden Orificer / The Broken Kilometer
— The Vapid Apostrophist
The Oral Fixator — to live again, through what
I don’t understand — a disappeared world
that makes again — again again
— to change an outcome
by repeating what I’ve lived through
The Filament Engorger / The Foci Imprisoner —
but we all know
where this is headed


Note: This is part of Big Other’s Puerto Rican Writers Folio: A Hauntology

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